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A Rollercoaster Decade : 2000 to 2010/11

By Nathan Jackson
June 7 2006

This new Millennium has proved to be an emotional one with problems ranging from financial problems to players fighting each other, but there have also been some very good memories. City have played at the Millennium Stadium twice and more importantly, become financially stable for the first time in years. City would end the decade being relegated in the 2010/11 season.

2000/1 - After John Reames nearly ruined the club, Phil Stant almost took it back into the conference, despite his "Messiah" Complex. A miserable season saw the Imps enter March on the back of 5 straight defeats, Stant is sacked, Buckley is brought in and the Imps win their next 4 games and finish a relieving 18th. However, things off the pitch are going badly.

Brighton, Chesterfield and Cardiff are automatically promoted, Blackpool via the playoffs. Barnet are relegated.

2001/2 - Both on and off the pitch, City almost get destroyed. City finished 22nd and if it hadn't been for Halifax's dreadful form, the Imps would have more than likely been the team relegated as Alan Buckley nearly drove the Imps into the conference.

Off the pitch, the collapse of ITV Digital near the end of the season saw City become the first side to go into administration due to the collapse and were within 24 hours of going bust. However, hard work from everyone at every level of the club meant the Imps do survived, however, with Alan Buckley and several other talented players let go, the Imps don't look to have a bright future in the League.

Just for the record, Plymouth, Luton and Mansfield are promoted automatically, Cheltenham via the playoffs.

2002-3 - Keith Alexander, manager 9 years previously, had come to Sincil Bank as Alan Buckley's assistant, but with Buckley gone, Keith was given the job, however, the lack of funds meant the Keith's knowledge of non-league was put to the test as Simon Yeo, Simon Weaver, Ben Futcher, Scott Willis, and Dene Cropper were all brought in during the pre-season and the Imps were placed as favourites for relegation.

However, City had a storming season and against all the odds, Keith Alexander's army of the non-league's finest made it to the playoffs. City beat local rivals Scunthorpe 6-3 on aggregate in the semi finals, however, the final saw the Imps lose 5-2 to Bournemouth. No-one particully cared as the whole season was more than what the Imps could have hoped for and this will go down as one of the club's greatest achievements.

Rushden and Diamonds, Hartlepool and Wrexham are all promoted automatically, Shrewsbury and Exeter are relegated.

2003-4 - City are again tipped to do badly, however, after a slow start the Imps again prove the critics wrong and make the playoffs again. However, this time the Imps lose 4-3 on aggregate in the semis to Huddersfield, who went on to win the playoffs, they joined automatically promoted Doncaster, Hull and Torquay. Carlisle United and York City are relegated.

2004-5 - The Imps are tipped to do well and after another poor start, finish in the playoffs again. After getting past Macclesfield in the semis via a 2-1 aggregate score, City dominate the final, with Southend getting very few opportunities in. However, the Essex club take the Imps to extra time and the dominance of the Imps caused several players to be exhausted and Simon Yeo and Gary Taylor-Fletcher, the club's best two strikers, were both taken off and the Imps concede just before extra time's half time. The game eventually finishes 2-0, a result the Southend definitely didn't deserve but it was City's own fault for not killing off a game that they could have won 5-0.

Yeovil, Scunthorpe and Swansea are all automatically promoted. Kidderminster and Cambridge are relegated.

2005-6 - A new look Imps' side takes to the field for the first time after the departure of over half the regular first teamers. City get off to their best start under Keith Alexander, securing 5 points from the first 4 games but it quickly went sour as the Imps struggled early on. The attack were scoring plenty of goals but the defence might as well have not been there.

A 4-1 defeat at Cheltenham changed the season and City would only lose once between November 19th and March 18th, a run the helped them make the playoffs for the 4th year in a row. However, the Imps lost 3-1 on aggregate to Grimsby Town in the playoffs and the Mariners lost the final to Cheltenham Town.

Other than Cheltenham, Carlisle, Northampton and Leyton Orient gained promotion whereas Oxford United and Rushden were relegated.

2006-7 - After Keith Alexander left the club in the summer, John Schofield was promoted to Head Coach and John Deehan came in from Northampton Town as Director of Football. A change in footballing style and personnel saw the Imps fare well at first. We were thrashing teams and even topped the table for 7 days in October.

However, in true Lincoln City style, a downturn in form saw City have to settle for the playoffs yet again. This time we lost 7-4 on aggregate to Bristol Rovers.

Walsall, Hartlepool and Swindon all went up automatically after being relegated 12 months earlier, Boston United and Torquay United were relegated.

2007-8 - City continued their poor form from the end of last season into the 2007/8 season. City found themselves bottom before being thrashed 4-0 on Sky to MK Dons. That was John Schofield's last game in charge and he was replaced by Peter Jackson. Jackson rejuvenated the Imps and City slowly but surely pulled clear.

A 5 game winning run in February all but assured the Imps of safety, but February will be remembered more because Peter Jackson announced he was diagnosed with cancer and would leave briefly for treatment. Iffy Onuora took temporary charge and the Imps limped over the finishing line to survive in League 2.

MK Dons, Peterborough, Hereford and Stockport were promoted. Mansfield and Wrexham were relegated.

 2008/9 - The season promised so much as several high profile signings joined during the summer. Consistent performers in the division, such as Stefan Oakes from Wycombe and previously free scoring David Graham, mixed with experienced heads such as Frank Sinclair, made the fans of the club look forward to the upcoming season.

However, it didn't go quite to plan as City started poorly and despite a good run in October, City rarely got out of midtable and finished in 13th place, just two places and a point above the previous season's efforts, causing many fans to question whether Peter Jackson was actually taking our club forward or not.

Brentford go up as Champions, joined by Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers. Gillingham went up via the Playoffs but Chester and Luton Town were relegated.

2009/10 - It turned out to be another forgettable season for the Imps. Although the Imps started promisingly with two wins in the opening three games, three defeats by the end of August and two early cup exits saw Peter Jackson sacked and replaced by Chris Sutton, a first time manager.

Sutton never really guided the Imps away from around the drop zone and 20th place was far from a great achievement. Infact, City realistically only survived because of Darlington's financial issues and Grimsby's 25 game winless run.

Notts County went up as Champions with Rochdale and Bournemouth joining them through automatic promotion, Dagenham went up via the Playoffs. Grimsby and Darlington were relegated.

2010/11 - An inconsistent year ends in Lincoln City being relegated to the Blue Square Premier Division with Stockport. Chris Sutton quit within the first few months of the season and was quickly replaced by Steve Tilson, the man who had managed Southend to the Playoff Final win over Lincoln in 2004/5.

Tilson didn't get off to a great start, getting just two wins in six weeks before the Imps had an unexpected winter break as a big cold snap saw all matches in December postponed. When the Imps did return to action, it was four defeats in a row that left City at the bottom of the division. However, 5 wins in a row soon  and improved form for a few weeks afterwards seemingly saw the Imps safe in the table, sitting 14 points clear of the drop zone at one point.

A 2-1 win over Southend on March 12th turned out to be the last time that the Imps would taste victory during the season and just two more points in the remaining eleven games was enough to see City relegated to the Blue Square Premier for the second time in 25 years.

Chesterfield, Bury and Wycombe were promoted to League One.

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